Guest Bloggers

The Joy of Creativity

By Suzanne Murray Years ago I heard Nobel Prize winning Irish poet Seamus Heaney give a lecture at the University of Washington. In the middle of this very academic speech, he paused, threw up both his hands and said, “Oh, just write for the joy of it” and then dipped back into the lecture. I don’t remember anything else from the talk, but Heaney’s sudden burst of inspiration stayed with me because it really captured an essential element in being creative. Whether you are cooking a great meal, growing a beautiful garden, writing a poem or singing in the community choir, you likely feel a deep sense of satisfaction and a joyfulness that comes with being creative. Creativity draws on the best of human nature: perception, imagination, intellect, inspiration, courage, intuition, and empathy. The urge to create asks us to bask in the experience of the world, to see, feel, taste,…

Sparks

Never Should You Ever

Memorable writing that sparks imagination. Lean in. Hear the writer’s voice on the page. Never Should You Ever By Ken Delpit Whether it’s “Never would I ever,”Or “Never will I ever,”Or “Never could I ever,”Or “Never can I ever,”Or “Never should I ever,”Or “Never have I ever,” You cannot help but marvelAt what an eternity “Never” is.At what a commitment “Never” is.At what a delusion “Never” is. Few such utterances can hold true,When a single exception renders them moot. Most such utterances harbor doubts.We just cannot help ourselves in our passions. Who among us say these things?Why, everyone, of course. Who among us mean these things?Well, everyone, of course. But who among us are truthful about “Nevers”?Well, some of us are…Or, intend to be, at least,At the time, that is,For the most part, anyway. So, take heed at the notion of “Never.”Its purpose is rigid,But its use is fluid. Lest…

Just Write

Writer Wounds and Scar Tissue

By Rebecca Evans We tell stories. But before we tell them, we hold them, think them, sometimes, we thank them. We recall and carry and live with them in our bodies. We embody them. Sometimes, they embody us. Some of our stories are built from sandbox and rhyme-singing childhoods. Others, built from bullies beneath the monkey bars. Many are the stories told to us, about us, some true, though most are not. And still others, the most difficult ones, are born from experiences. Someone one asked how long it took to write my memoir. 55 years. Yes. All of my years, because I lived through the experiences first. The truth is that we don’t just live through our experiences. We also don’t “get through” or “get over” the tough stuff—grief, loss, trauma. They live in us. If we’re lucky and wield pens, we push them out and onto the page….

Prompts

Perspective . . . Prompt #658

I like the idea of looking at familair things with a new perspective. This writing idea is from Kathryn Petruccelli: Look at something in your environment, perhaps something you’ve seen many times before, that you think you know well. It could be a piece of art hanging in your house, or a plant on your windowsill. Get close and look again. Re-see it. After you’ve spent some time with it, create a list of metaphors—things it looks like, or reminds you of. Don’t be too attached to logic, be free with your associations. Maybe the comparisons will get wild as you go along. At some point, break the pattern of the list and slow things down by going deeper into description for one metaphor (extend it and explain it in more detail), or by making a statement—a simple subject-verb sentence—that reflects on or summarizes what you’ve said so far. Note…

Book Reviews

The Education of Kevin Powell

Kevin Powell, author of “The Education of Kevin Powell: A Boy’s Journey into Manhood,”  is many things: a journalist, poet, essayist, blogger, activist, public speaker, television personality, and more. Mostly, he is an amazing human being. I know Kevin as a kind, aware, observant interviewer who listens carefully and gets to the heart of the interviewee by asking pertinent questions. “The Education of Kevin Powell” is an education for readers who haven’t experienced extreme poverty, racial inequity, misogyny, violence, and mishandled anger. It’s a multifaceted story of how a young man rose above his seemingly hopeless circumstances to become a respectful and respected innovator, leader, and healer. “The Education of Kevin Powell” is a beacon of hope for bringing people and communities together for the good of all. Book review by Marlene Cullen

Places to submit

Monologues

Rebecca Evans taught an amazing class about writing monologues, which sent me on a search for “monologue submissions.” Scroll down for information on Rebecca’s June 16, 2022 writing workshop. A few places to submit monologues FORWARD THEATRE:  2023 Monologue Festival Out in This World “The detour that leads to an unexpected adventure. The vacation where everything goes wrong. The annoying stranger who turns into an amazing guide. Forward Theater is looking for original scripts about travel, whether to places far away or destinations close to home. Even a trip across the street can expand your horizons. Here is your chance to create a tale of the connection, joy, fear, beauty, exploration, and discovery that can only happen when you get out in this world. As you consider what to write, please be as creative as possible. It can take the form of comedy, spoken word, drama, farce, autobiography, or pure…

Prompts

Tall Tales or Truth . . . Prompt #656

Write about yourself or about one (or more) of your fictional characters. You can write the truth or embellish a tall tale. “Your” is you or one of your fictional characters. Some writing starts: Describe your career / job. If you are retired, what did you do before retirement? If you could start over, what type of work do you wish you had pursued? Hobbies? What do you do in your spare time? If you don’t have spare time, what would you do if you had spare time? What do you like to do? Something very few people know about you. Something that is not true about you. Best vacation. Children. Grandchildren. Where did you grow up? Where do you live? What are you especially good at? What do you want people to know about you? #justwrite #iamawriter #iamwriting

Just Write

Becoming a Writer in the Third Chapter of Life

Guest Post by Carole Duff All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another. —Anatole France Western culture divides life into three stages: birth/student, work/family, and retirement/death. My husband and I, moving into our retirement years and building a new house, borrowed the Hindu concept of four stages, adding a time of spiritual growth and reconnection between retirement and death. The third stage of life, Vanaprastha, the name we chose for our mountain home, means retreat to the forest. Not retirement but time to learn, reflect, and grow. Time to take the internal journey and heal past wounds from loss, rejection, and inexplicable disruptions. Time to explore, discover, seek meaning, share wisdom, and serve others. Time to become our truer selves. As it turned out, I became a writer….